New data from the health ministries of Thailand and Malaysia show that the dengue situation in each country continues to grow steadily. Including the Philippines, all three countries have topped 90,000 dengue fever cases for 2015 to date.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

The Thai Bureau of Epidemiology, in a weekly update, puts the dengue count at 91,418, approximately a 5,000 case increase from the previous week. The death toll from dengue in Thailand is now 91.

In Malaysia where the dengue situation has been steady for most of the year, health officials now put the tally of cases at 97,430, including 253 deaths.

Although we don’t have updated numbers in the Philippines (case count currently 92,807), the Department of Health (DOH) last week launched their strengthened Anti-Dengue Advocacy Campaign in schools and communities.

According to health officials, the highlight of this activity is the ceremonial turn-over of Insecticide Treated Screens (ITS) to DepEd. This year, DOH will distribute 10,000 ITS rolls to selected public elementary schools nationwide as part of their intensified action in preventing and controlling dengue.

ITS is a screen, installed at the window or door areas of the classroom. It is proven and tested to have safe level of insecticide (permethrin) which will be used to protect students inside the classroom against dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

“This intervention is not new to DOH. It started in 2009 with 7,620 schools reached nationwide. This year, we are intensifying the installation and sustainability of ITS in public elementary schools with the help of DepEd, DILG, Local Government Units (LGUs) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). Our developmental partners are the key factors for the success of this initiative.” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin explained.

As of September 19 this year, a total of 92,807 dengue cases were reported nationwide. This figure is 23.5% higher compared to the same period last year (75,117). A total of 269 deaths (0.3%) were reported this year which is lower than last year with 316 deaths (0.4%). While there are increasing cases of dengue, it only shows that with proper clinical management and early consultation, death due to dengue can be avoided.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

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